Choosing a hand sanitizer during the winter months

Our skin, namely the hands, is prone to dry out in the winter due to the decrease in temperature, thinner blood volume, and slower circulation. To satisfy everyone in the office, according to their skin type, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing hand sanitizers for use in the office during the winter months.

One of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs in the office is to make sure that there are more than enough hand sanitizers available for use. Hand sanitizers are quick draw solutions for being “too busy to thoroughly wash hands” and come in handy when soap and water aren’t readily available. They encourage healthy hygiene habits for workspaces, large and small, as they kill various strains of germs, viruses, and bacteria.

Sickness and illness usually spike during the winter months making it an excellent time to evaluate what kinds of hand sanitizer are best to use and have on hand in the office.

Hand sanitizers reduce the spread of germs and bacteria

For hand sanitizers to effectively kill germs and bacteria strains, they need to contain at least 60% alcohol and they need to be used correctly.

For this reason, alcohol-based sanitizers are suggested for areas where coworkers regularly congregate so that the risk of spreading germs is reduced. It’s also a good idea to have touch-free dispensers in the breakrooms and restrooms and bottles with pumps strategically located in areas where employees communally use equipment and supplies.

There are two types of alcohol used in hand sanitizers:

Ethyl alcohol

The first is ethyl alcohol. Ethyl alcohol is also known as a grain alcohol. It’s the stuff that acts as a solvent for cleaning products and petroleum gasoline. It’s also the stuff that’s added to alcoholic beverages. As the key ingredient in most hand sanitizers, ethyl alcohol usually accounts for almost all of the active ingredient.

  1. Isopropyl alcohol

    The other sometimes inactive ingredient in hand sanitizers is isopropyl alcohol. Isopropyl is what is known as a synthetic chemical compound. When mixed with water it becomes the stuff that cleanses external mishaps like cuts and scrapes, acting as an antiseptic. Antiseptics attempt to destroy the regeneration that causes germs and viruses to cluster, slowing their growth process and ultimately limiting advancement.

  2. Alcohol free hand sanitizers for winter and cold seasons

    There are some hand sanitizers that contain an antibiotic compound calledbenzalkonium chloride instead of alcohol. The substance, acting as an antimicrobial preservative, is made up of an organic saline property that makes it easy to trap bacteria and germs. It is often used in contact lens solutions, skin antiseptics, cosmetics, and antibacterial soaps because it does not absorb into the skin, rather it acts on the surface. Because it acts on the surface of the skin, it keeps germs and bacteria from penetrating and that is what wards off illness. That makes benzalkonium chloride non-toxic, non-irritating, and safe for nearly all regular skin types.

  3. Best winter hand sanitizers for different skin types

    To reduce dry skin in the winter, it’s important to use the best hand sanitizer for the person’s skin type:

    Normal skin – winter hand sanitizer with glycerin

    Most all hand sanitizers include glycerin. Glycerin is a moisturizing preservative that is naturally derived from plant oils. Its incorporation sometimes makes hand sanitizers feel sticky but it actually helps to keep them from being excessively drying, acting as a sealant and making it safe for nearly all skin types. Even though most hand sanitizers have glycerin in them, those who suffer from dry skin may need a bit more of a moisturizing compound. That’s where aloe can be effective.

    Normal to dry skin – winter hand sanitizer with aloe

    Aloe is an often used ingredient because of its ability to extract moisture from the air, making it healing and deeply conditioning. If there are employees in the office that tend to have normal to dry skin, then an option with aloe could be the best fit.

    Dry skin in the winter – hand sanitizer with vitamin E

    There are also hand sanitizers that contain vitamin E. Vitamin E acts as an antioxidant and protects skin from dryness and cracking. It restores the natural elasticity in our skin making it a good choice for those who have much dryer skin in the winter. There are hand sanitizers that have aloe and vitamin E in them so those who suffer from dry, cracking skin could find comfort using these kinds.

    Very dry or sensitive skin in winter months – Non-alcohol hand sanitizer or fragrance-free hand sanitizer with lotion

    For those with sensitive skin, they could try alcohol free and fragrance free hand sanitizers as mentioned above. Another good universal option for very dry skin is a hand sanitizer that contains lotion. Hand sanitizers with lotion can work well for most all skin types and are economical, remedying the need to have both a hand sanitizer and lotion on hand.

  4. Scented hand sanitizers for a pick me up in winter months

    If a pick me up is what the office could use then there are some hand sanitizers that are scented. Scented hand sanitizers tend to be popular because of their rich and poignant smells. They have the same active ingredients and also contain fragrance. It can be revitalizing to squirt a few pumps and inhale a refreshingly pleasant scent in the middle of the day or after a meeting or lunch which is why most offices have at least one or two options available. The fragrance of this hand sanitizer is reminiscent of spring and this one is a foam hand sanitizer with a clean linen scent. Since scented solutions contain actual fragrance they should be considered for spaces where the employees don’t have allergies or are prone to migraine headaches. They aren’t good choices for those with sensitive or problem skin so a good alternative for those individuals are natural choices.

  5. Winter-suitable hand sanitizers that use natural solutions

    Natural hand sanitizers are those deemed as such because they often feature plant-based alcohols and skin-conditioning essential oils. Natural hand sanitizers still use ethyl alcohol but the alcohol is fermented differently, helping it to maintain its natural chemical composition. Together with essential oils, the two key ingredients easily absorb into the skin making them less drying. These solutions are good because they are produced with sustainably sourced ingredients and non-toxic (paraben and preservative free).

  6. How to best use hand sanitizer in the winter

    With all kinds of hand sanitizers, it is a good idea to use a quarter sized amount, rub the front and back of the hands together as if washing and be sure to make contact with the areas under the nails and on the nail beds. The hand sanitizer should then be allowed to dry.

    Alcohol-based hand sanitizers can be drying to the skin, no matter what skin type one may have. A good rule of thumb is to use no more than two pumps two times a day.

  7. Winter hand sanitizers for personal use

    A trial size hand sanitizer is good to have on-hand in a purse or coat pocket for personal use. Hand sanitizing wipes are another personal, portable solution that include just enough liquid for quick use and tend to be a favorite in break and lunch rooms. (They come in handy for sticky lunches and catered lunches that include outside guests). Spray-on trial sizes are also quick remedies that are portable and convenient.

    All in all, it’s useful to first find out what some of the existing skin and health concerns might be for those in the office and order accordingly. Once the shipment arrives, it’s a good idea to remind everyone that proper use goes much further than not.